Friday, May 1, 2015

Cave Rescue Training - April 2015

 It had been a few years since we had a National Cave Rescue Commission training in our area. With a little nudging from my friend Andy, I picked a date, found some instructors willing to volunteer their time, and got ready for a fun weekend.

On Friday we had fifteen students come to improve their single rope technique (SRT) skills in the morning. We had seven single ropes up in the fire station, plus a rebelay course that included some J-hangs and a guided rappel. It was a challenging rebelay course, but fun! Here's Deanna doing the guided rappel, which would keep you out of a waterfall or get you over a pothole or some other obstacle.

In the afternoon we went out to some nearby cliffs and did raises and lowers. It was a windy afternoon, but everyone did well and learned something.

While we were prepping the site, I got this fun shot.

In the evening you could tell we were getting a little tired…but we were still laughing! (Can you see what's happened in the photo below?)

The next morning we changed gears and started the Orientation to Cave Rescue class, a two-day class. We spent the morning and early afternoon in the classroom. Here's Bonny doing the best psych considerations talk I've ever seen. It was also perfect for keeping the students awake after lunch as they had to get up.

Later in the afternoon it was time for the obstacle course, which teaches how to move a litter and tests leadership/followership skills. One particularly fun challenge was going through a narrow fork in the tree.

They did it well! Then everyone had to climb through the tree, which took some teamwork.

Sunday it was time for the mock rescue to test their skills. Thanks to Bonny and Tori for getting some of these photos, as I ended up being one of the patients. They had to come find me and carry me out of the cave.

When the students arrived, they got organized. The incident commander sent everyone to the cave.

Then they were divided into teams with different missions.

One of the search teams found me and then had to keep me warm and treat my injuries while they waited for a litter to arrive.

It took me about ten minutes to go to my place in the cave uninjured, but over three hours to get me out, largely due to patient packaging and then various vertical obstacles. It just goes to show that you want to cave carefully or you could end up spending a lot longer in a cave than you had planned!

On the hike back I discussed the mock rescue with Andy. We were both very happy with how everyone had done. Thanks so much to all the instructors, students, Great Basin National Park, Ely District BLM, and Snake Valley Volunteer Fire Department for their support!

The National Cave Rescue Commission has upcoming training--a Small Party Assisted Rescue seminar in June in Lund, Nevada (with only four spots left), and a weeklong seminar with various levels in Park City, Kentucky (next to Mammoth Cave) at the end of July. You can find more info at the NCRC website.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

T-Ball Comes to Our Valley

 Our friend Beth decided to start a t-ball team in the valley, the first one ever. A bunch of four to seven year-olds turned up the first night to find out what it was all about.

Beth had enlisted the help of assistant coaches.

They led the kids in running around the gym (the first night was very cold so practice was held indoors) and stretching.

Then it was time to divide into groups and start learning how to catch (even if the glove was on the wrong hand), throw, and bat.

The kids had a fantastic time.

Even in snowboots.

Desert Girl hit the ball well the first two times she swung, and then hit the tee repeatedly. She needs some more practice, I guess.

At the end we celebrated that no one had gotten hurt. That doesn't mean there weren't tears, there were plenty of those as kids realized they couldn't have the ball all the time. But they were starting to get the idea of how to play as a team.

A couple practices later and it was time to teach the kids how to bat and run around the bases.

Parents hung out in the outfield to help direct the kids. The kids didn't have a very long attention span.

But before long they seemed to get the hang of running to first base and throwing the ball to first base, and then listening to the first base coach of what they were supposed to do next.

The kids are having a great time, and the spectators are getting a good dose of entertainment. I'm already looking forward to the next practice! Thanks so much to all the coaches.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Desert Girl's Mountain Biking Adventure

 Since Desert Girl has ditched the training wheels, she wants to go bike riding all the time. One Sunday afternoon we went for a little ride.

She's gotten a lot better keeping her balance and seems pretty comfortable on her bike.

So we decided to give her a little challenge at an off-roading place. Desert Boy was eager to take the lead.

He showed us last year at Sacramento Pass Rec Area that he has a talent for mountain bike riding.

Then it was Desert Girl's turn. I wasn't so sure how well she would do. And I was quite aware that I had no bandaids with me. This could turn out really ugly. I held my breath as she started down the hill.

She started gaining speed and going over bumps. Her front wheel wobbled, but she hung on tight, Barbie basket leading the way.

And she stayed on!

And she kept going. She didn't quite make it up the hill, but she was pleased as peaches that she made it down the hill. She even did it again.

I think we've got another future mountain biker.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Distractions while Irrigating

 The main irrigator for a remote area of the ranch was injured in a car accident, so my husband has been spending a lot of time down there, including Sundays. So we've all been going down there on Sundays so we can at least spend time as a family. The kids and I tend to find the irrigating not so exciting, but there are other ways to amuse ourselves. I really like looking at the birds, and I was delighted when my husband pointed out this bird.

I had to take a better look to recognize it as a great blue heron. I'm used to seeing them on the ground or flying, but great blue herons do nest in trees, usually in huge rookeries, sometimes with hundreds of them together. This one was all by itself.

Meanwhile, the kids were finding some obstacles.

Then they decided to build a fort. They love building forts, and they usually get along well together when they do.

Eventually my husband finished the irrigating, and it was time to leave. The kids begged to stay longer to make their fort better. When we were driving away and realized our gas in the truck was low, Desert Boy suggested we could go back to the fort and hang out there, after all it was good shelter. If he ever gets lost, he'll probably do okay for himself!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day! Schoola and ThredUp Links

Let's help our Planet Earth by making less garbage!  One of my favorite things to reuse are clothes. Most pre-owned clothes have lots of wear left in them.

Recently I've been introduced to two online stores that sell pre-owned clothes, Schoola and ThredUp. I've used both and have been happy with them and recommend them to others. True, finding reusable clothes close to you will be even better for the planet (as shipping causes carbon emissions), but if you aren't finding what you want or you live out in the boonies and don't have nearby thrift stores, these two websites might be a great opportunity. Plus they both have sales right now!

Schoola offers preloved kids clothes at up to 70% off retail with 40% of proceeds benefiting schools.  You can get free shipping with orders over $50, but for a limited time, shipping is free for any size order. Use the link here and you get a $15 credit for your first order.  (And if you invite friends you will also get a $15 credit.) With the $15 credit and free shipping, that means you can get one or two pieces of clothing for free, including shipping!

ThredUp is the largest online consignment and thrift store. They have girls, boys, and women's clothes. Ending at midnight tonight (4/22), you can get 20% off your order, just use code EARTHDAY. By clicking on the link here, you get a $10 credit for your first order. (And if you invite friends you will also get a $10 credit.) They have free shipping on orders over $70 otherwise shipping is $5.99. ThredUp gets clothes by having customers send in clothes to sell. I gave that a try and filled a bag (prepaid shipping) with the specific brands they accept (check their website). What I found is that they are extremely picky and only accept the very best (4 of my 15 items, all of which were in excellent condition). I thought the other clothes I had sent were plenty good to be sold on their website, but apparently they know what sells best (and maybe I'm not as trendy as I thought! ;) Nevertheless, I now have a $12 credit to use with them, donate, or get via Paypal, and that's $12 more than I had before, plus my house is a bit emptier, which is a really nice feeling. Clothes that aren't accepted are passed on to a third-party reseller.

They had some interesting stats on their annual report:

I'm loving that reusing clothes is also saving so much water, especially coming from a water-starved area!

Okay, ready, set, reuse!

Note: affiliate links in this post--you don't pay any extra, but if you click the links and order, I get a small reward that makes me a happier blogger. And a happier blogger means more posts!
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